Employers have a legal obligation to conduct right-to-work checks on all employees before their start date and continuously throughout their employment to prevent illegal working.
When Should They Be Done?
Employers must perform these checks on all employees before commencing work. The employer should apply the verification process to individuals of any nationality or ethnic background, regardless of the job type (full-time, part-time, permanent, or temporary). The employer must ensure to carry out these checks diligently, as failure to do so could lead to severe legal consequences, including fines of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker and, in some cases, imprisonment.
Responsibility for Reporting any Changes in Immigration
Both the employee and the employer share the responsibility of reporting any changes in the employee’s immigration status. It is a legal requirement for businesses to maintain current information regarding their employees’ right to work in the UK. If an employer becomes aware that an employee’s right to work in the UK has ceased, prompt action must be taken to terminate their employment.
Conversely, the employee also bears the responsibility of notifying their employer about any changes in their immigration status. This includes updates related to their visa or work permit, as well as any alterations in their circumstances that may impact their right to work in the UK.
Open and proactive communication regarding any changes to immigration status is crucial for both parties. By doing so, employers can maintain compliance with UK immigration laws, and employees can safeguard their right to work in the UK.
Employers in the UK must maintain records for all their employees. These records should encompass copies of the documents that have undergone verification, such as passports or visas, along with other pertinent information like the check date and the name of the individual who conducted the verification.
Maintaining these records is significant for various reasons. Firstly, it serves as evidence that an employer has conducted the required checks and taken appropriate measures to ensure their employees possess the right to work in the UK. This evidence can be crucial during an audit or investigation conducted by the Home Office. Secondly, precise record-keeping can shield an employer from liability in case authorities discover that an employee is working illegally. If an employer can demonstrate that they have performed the necessary checks and kept accurate records, they might be able to avoid or minimize any civil or criminal penalties that authorities could impose.
Employees with Time-Limited Visas
Organizations must conduct follow-up checks on employees holding time-limited visas to verify their ongoing right to work in the UK. These checks should be performed at least once every 12 months or at the time when the visa is scheduled to expire, whichever comes later.
During these follow-up checks, employers should request employees to provide evidence confirming their ongoing right to work in the UK. This evidence may comprise a new visa, work permit, or other relevant documentation, such as a letter from the Home Office.
Companies must maintain precise records of these follow-up checks, documenting the date of the check and the provided documentation.
During a TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) transfer, the responsibility for conducting right-to-work checks shifts from the previous employer to the new employer. The new employer needs to complete this verification process within 60 calendar days from the date of the transfer to ensure compliance with immigration regulations and to confirm that the transferred employees retain the right to work in the UK under the new employer.